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A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Book Title: A Study in Scarlet

Writer: Arthur Conan Doyle

Genre: Detective Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Warning: The Second Last Paragraph Contains Spoiler

Read so many good reviews of this book that I finally decided to give it a read. The book ‘A Study in Scarlet’ by Arthur Conan Doyle belongs to the genre of detective fiction, a genre I haven’t explored much and mainly deals with the themes of love, hate, injustice, murder, and revenge. The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, the story is told in the first-person narrative through the character of Doctor John Watson who serves in the British army as a doctor, however, is sent back to England as a result of an injury during the Anglo-Afghan War to recuperate from the mental and physical injuries from the war. Dr. Watson tells the readers about how he meets the “eccentric” Mr. Sherlock Holmes whom he met through an old colleague for the purpose of sharing an apartment. Soon, Watson discovers that Holmes is not an ordinary person but is a consulting detective, who advises other detectives through his ability of deduction and analysis. One day, Holmes receives a letter from a Scotland Yard detective who wanted his help in finding a murderer of a man who is murdered under mysterious circumstances. While Holmes works on the case, another murder under similar circumstances takes place and he finally solves the mystery and finds the murderer. That’s where the first part ends.

Most of the next part of the story is written in the third person and takes the readers to the flashback of forty years back where we are told the back story of the murderer and his motive behind committing the two murders. This part also shows the vices of Mormons and the fact that when people are in power they use it to oppress others. As soon as the first part ended, I had a feeling that the second part will be quite boring but I was hooked to it. I find this part more interesting than the first one. The back story of the murderer was so interesting and I loved how Doyle penned it all.

The theme of injustice was recurrent in the novel. Through the story of Mormons, we see that “power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The Mormon elders used their power to cause injustice in the community and almost got away with it. Moreover, Holmes’ character also represents people who are victims of injustice. It is he who solves the mystery of the murder yet all the credit is given to the non-deserving detectives who didn’t do much in solving the murder.

This paragraph contains spoilers

Apart from the theme of injustice, the theme of revenge is also quite dominant in the play. Jefferson Hope dedicated his whole life to avenging the murder of his loved ones. Though the writer shows that he died in peace but I felt a little sad for him because he could have started a new life but he wasted it all in pursuing the two men who wronged him to find his closure.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Though I was expecting the writing style of Doyle would be very hard to read as the novel was written in the eighteenth century but it was quite a smooth read. The book was short but quite engrossing, especially the second part. This book also reminded me of Tess Gerritsen’s “Ice Cold.” I have a feeling that Gerritsen got her inspiration for her novel from this book.This book was a great read and I am definitely going to read more of this writer. Loved it and rating it 4/5 stars.